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Reindeer Police to the Rescue in Russia

Reindeer Police to the Rescue in Russia

In the far north of Russia lies the Arctic Tundra, a stark and frozen landscape that is difficult to navigate at the best of times. In northwest Siberia is a region called Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. Here, the police struggle to maintain law and order across the difficult terrain – especially when criminals escape across the frozen land, with using reindeer-led sleds as their getaway vehicles.

But the police could be getting reindeer of their own, to level out the playing field.

Irina Pimkina, from Yamalo-Nenet’s Interior Ministry – the government agency responsible for policing – explained that the local police are use snowmobiles to cross the Tundra. However, machines being machines, the snowmobiles can get stuck or break down, making reindeer a much reliable option.

“Deer would be useful for the district police officers to go around the remote areas,” she said. “In addition to policing, our officers provide various assistance to locals, such as transporting patients out of the Tundra.”

The legislation is already in place to incorporate reindeer onto the police forces, but they won’t be the only services animals employed by the Defence Ministry in Russia. Around 150 donkeys and mules make up special mountain brigades.

When the reindeer take up their newfound positions, they will be fed on a mixture of oats, hay, rye and white flour, as well as reindeer moss (which, surprisingly, is not a moss, but a lichen, and a reindeer’s favourite food).

As we’ve already mentioned, reindeer aren’t the only animals to be used in this manner in terrain that vehicles struggle to wend their way through. For example, in Egypt and other desert-based places, policemen ride on camels. The humped creatures are much more adept at travelling through the sandy landscape than any vehicle could be. And let’s not forget about mounted police on horses which are still a common site on city streets.


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